An Assessment of the Project Pathways to the Middle East and North Africa at Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts, USA

An Assessment of the Project Pathways to the Middle East and North Africa at Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts, USA

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-7869-1.ch006
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Pathways to MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) at Bridgewater State University (BSU) in Massachusetts, USA is a project designed to integrate several programs, including foreign language instruction, international partnerships with MENA institutions, study abroad, undergraduate student research, faculty professional development, and community engagement. Its purpose is to expand the internalization of various cultures, religions, languages, geography, and people across the MENA region. The strategies to achieve these are designed to leverage the interlinks among various activities, including four foci: curriculum enhancement, student success, faculty development, and community outreach. The authors designed a survey and conducted the analysis to quantitatively assess the outlined strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic compelled the coordinators of this project to hold community outreach events on Zoom. The projected results demonstrated a massive improvement in intercultural competencies among students, faculty, and participants from the regions.
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Significance Of Study

The significance of this study emanated from the academic need to evaluate the existing MENA Studies minor at BSU and to offer more educational opportunities for students and faculty to explore the MENA region. It is one of the critical regions of this world and has a sophisticated and deep history and encompasses two linguistic groups of countries: the Arabic-speaking group and the non-Arabic-speaking group. The non-Arabic-speaking group includes Iran, Israel, and Turkey. The major spoken languages for this group are Persian (Farsi), Hebrew, and Turkish, respectively, but it is important to recognize that there are other important languages spoken in the region, including Kurdish, Syriac, Turkman, Armenian, Greek, and others.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Pathways to MENA: New strategies for the educational, economic, social, and cultural development of MENA region vis-à-vis USA.

International Academic Partners: It means developing academic and educational collaboration with other international higher education institutions in different parts of the world.

MENA: An acronym introduced by the United Nations to identify 22 countries as part of the Middle East and North Africa region.

Coil: Collaborative Online International Learning connects students and professors in various countries around the world for collaborative academic and cultural projects.

Virtual Exchange: An innovative online interactive program that connects students, professors, librarians, staff, and experts in different countries around the globe.

Student Success: A national model focuses on the elimination of equity gaps through the development, implementation and assessment of effective and transformative equity, justice, diversity, and inclusion practices

Curriculum Enhancement: Refers to a deliberate academic process of creating new innovative courses, programs, minors, or enriching an existing academic program at colleges and universities.

Community Outreach: It involves providing professional, technical, financial, and academic services and resources to all segments of the nearby society or academic community.

Faculty Development: It is professional engagement and training for educators (teachers) at any level to improve teaching pedagogy and instruction.

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